Former Slovak PM warns Czech leaders to stay out of his country's affairs

Robert Fico has issued a statement addressing recent comments by Czech politicians including President Petr Pavel and Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 20.05.2023 09:44:00 (updated on 20.05.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Robert Fico, the former Prime Minister of Slovakia and current leader of the opposition party Direction – Slovak Social Democracy (SMER-SD), has issued a statement urging Czech politicians to avoid meddling in Slovak affairs.

Fico's remarks came in response to expressions of concern by Czech President Petr Pavel and Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský regarding recent developments in Slovakia. Fico addressed their recent statements in a lengthy Facebook post on Thursday.

"Initially, Czech President Pavel voiced his concern over the ongoing developments in Slovakia," Fico wrote.

"[Now], Czech Foreign Minister Lipavský, affiliated with the progressive Pirate Party (a counterpart to the Progressive Slovakia party), has stated the need for careful monitoring of my potential return to the prime ministerial position."

Fico went on to implore all Czech politicians, saying, "I kindly request that all Czech politicians refrain from engaging in the dubious activity of interfering in the affairs of Slovakia."

The Slovak government collapsed last December, leading President Zuzana Čaputová to appoint a caretaker cabinet under the leadership of former central bank vice governor Ludovit Odor earlier this month.

An early general election in Slovakia is scheduled for September. Recent opinion polls indicate that Fico's opposition Direction – Slovak Social Democracy party is currently the most-favored political party in the country.

Lipavský addressed Fico's potential return to the prime ministerial role during a political discussion program on TV last weekend.

He mentioned Fico's criticism of the European Union and his desire to halt the provision of military equipment to Ukraine. Lipavský expressed hope that some of Fico's controversial statements were merely campaign rhetoric leading up to the election.

Czech President Petr Pavel had previously expressed his concerns about the political situation in Slovakia during a debate in February.

"You are playing with fire!" Fico wrote in all-caps in his Facebook statement, addressing the Czech politicians' statements regarding developments in Slovakia.

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